“This is a strong indicator of the breadth and depth of Carleton research in the arts and social sciences,” said Rafik Goubran, vice-president (Research and International). “Desplanque’s research will help connect contemporary and historical forms of consumerism and enable us to better understand the way we integrate images into our lives.”
The title of Desplanque’s research project is Papermania: The Popular Printed Image and the Nineteenth-Century Consumer.
“Today, people interact with photos using apps like Instagram and Imgur,” said Desplanque. “These apps are paving the way for new forms of participatory consumerism that has its origin in 19th century scrap sheets.”
Today’s popular grid image format has a parallel in the 19th-century scrap sheet where a series of images were arranged on a grid and printed onto a large sheet of paper. Consumers interacted with these images, cutting and pasting them into scrapbooks or onto boxes or fans. This historical form of participatory consumerism was enabled by innovations in the production of paper, which had become substantially cheaper to manufacture.
Desplanque’s project examines the way technology enabled new forms of mass consumption by studying the 19th century scrap sheet in France, England and North America. This project will create the first interactive online database of 19th-century European and North American scrap sheets and related objects.
Desplanque, a Canadian citizen who holds a PhD in Art History and Visual Culture from Duke University, will be supervised at Carleton by Stephane Roy in the School for Studies in Art and Culture, Department of Art History and History and Theory of Architecture. Desplanque has returned to Carleton after completing a Carolina Postdoctoral Fellowship for Faculty Diversity at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
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